Monday, 5 March 2012

Peak meme?

References to memes appear to be increasing exponentially on the internet, with a low doubling time. Also, memes have overtaken genes in popularity on the internet.

How long can this go on for? Are memes a temporary fad, or a lasting phenomenon? Will we see peak meme - and if so: when?

Memes are probably not a fad - and peak meme may be unlikely to arrive for a long time - but we could see the rise of memes start to level off a little at some stage.

It is pretty hard to say what will happen. Memes do have tremendous significance in terms of the future of the evolutionary process. At some stage, we may see an extended explosion of memes - as cumulative cultural evolution itself snowballs. However, what we are really seeing now is just the term "meme" snowballing. The rest of culture is snowballing too - but not with quite the same rapid doubling time. So: the snowballing of the term "meme" may well slow down a little - as it gets closer to saturating the population - and before the rest of culture itself starts to snowball more rapidly. However, when these events will happen is not clear.

The "meme" terminology explosion could go on for a while yet - it seems.

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